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Thread: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

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    Playoffs Cyclone792's Avatar
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    The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    It's May 9th.

    It's early.

    It's only been 108 plate appearances thus far.

    It's been a bit hidden away from Reds fans slightly due to the amazing story of Josh Hamilton and the frustration of the Reds bullpen.

    And, perhaps most of all, the chances of an injury shattering this amazing ride are so high that Reds fans are left with few other options than to wince and hope against hope that this resurging offensive force is healthy enough to start tonight, and then start again tomorrow night, and then start again the following night, etc.

    But man, put those disclaimers aside for a minute and check out this batting line: .326/.444/.562.

    That's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old outfielder who had merely a handful of spring training games and plate appearances. It's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old outfielder who previously had muscles torn off and reattached with screws, among various other serious injuries over the past few years. It's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old hitter who was showing signs of decline at the plate the previous season with a disturbing drop in walks and on-base percentage.

    But so far in 2007, especially during the last 1-2 weeks, all Ken Griffey, Jr. done is hit, hit, and hit some more. Griffey turned 37 in November of 2006, and guys his age just aren't supposed to hit like he's hitting. Then again, he was accomplishing feats on the baseball field 15 years ago that guys weren't supposed to accomplish either. Maybe this is more of the same, more of the good same from a decade ago that Reds fans have hoped to see ever since he was acquired in 2000.

    How amazing is Griffey's 2007 season so far? According to his Fan Graphs Page, Griffey has a RC/27 (runs created per 27 outs) of 10.09, which essentially means that an entire lineup of Griffeys would score an average of 10.09 runs per 27 outs. The National League's average RC/27 so far this season is around 4.55, or close to that range.

    Now compare Griffey's RC/27 to the league average, and his rate of creating runs this season is around 222. For reference purposes, 100 is average. Above 100 is above average, and below 100 is below average. How absurd is a RC/27 rate of 222? Let's get an idea by taking a look at the top 25 single season RC/27 rates for outfielders who were 37-years-old or older since the year 1900 (minimum 500 plate appearances) ...
    Code:
    SEASON
    MODERN (1900-)
    OF
    AGE >= 37
    RUNS CREATED displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    AGE displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    
    RUNS CREATED/GAME             YEAR     RATE   PLAYER   LEAGUE     RC      RCAA     RCAP      AGE    
    1    Barry Bonds              2002      423    21.23     5.02      206      161      150       37   
    2    Barry Bonds              2004      420    22.08     5.26      202      152      147       39   
    3    Ted Williams             1957      357    16.44     4.60      165      113       94       38   
    4    Barry Bonds              2003      325    16.75     5.15      165      115      112       38   
    5    Babe Ruth                1932      246    13.73     5.57      160      101       93       37   
    6    Ted Williams             1956      232    11.68     5.04      119       66       50       37   
    7    Ted Williams             1958      221    10.02     4.53      111       58       42       39   
    8    Tris Speaker             1925      205    11.65     5.68      125       59       40       37   
    9    Bob Johnson              1944      197     8.79     4.45      123       61       54       37   
    10   Willie Mays              1971      191     8.18     4.27       97       47       43       40   
    11   Babe Ruth                1933      190    10.05     5.28      126       66       60       38   
    12   Tony Gwynn               1997      173     8.87     5.12      132       61       55       37   
    13   Willie Mays              1968      171     6.41     3.74       90       40       31       37   
    14   Stan Musial              1962      168     8.15     4.84       93       34       26       41   
    15   Willie Mays              1970      157     7.67     4.89      100       38       33       39   
    16   Carl Yastrzemski         1977      156     7.16     4.59      110       26       19       37   
    17   Zack Wheat               1925      156     8.75     5.62      136       53       45       37   
    18   Dwight Evans             1989      154     6.63     4.30       98       31       28       37   
    19   Hank Sauer               1954      151     7.72     5.12      111       35       29       37   
    20   Ty Cobb                  1927      150     8.11     5.39      107       40       29       40   
    21   Rickey Henderson         1999      145     8.05     5.57       96       33       24       40   
    22   Gene Woodling            1960      141     6.60     4.70       79       23        8       37   
    23   Moises Alou              2004      140     7.37     5.26      121       30       21       37   
    24   Tris Speaker             1926      136     7.14     5.27      111       32       17       38   
    25   Steve Finley             2002      135     6.79     5.02       95       19       16       37
    The RATE column in the above chart is each player's RC/27 rate compared to their league average. Ken Griffey, Jr. is nearly a month and a half into a potentially historic season for an outfielder his age if he's able to remain healthy and continue hitting at his current pace. Heck, even if Griffey's production slips a bit from his current 2007 standards, he'll still be producing an historic season for an outfielder of his age.

    Barry Bonds has produced some inhuman seasons at an old age, and Ted Williams in 1957 was in another stratosphere of amazing. But consider some of the names and seasons listed above by some of those all-time great players who created runs at a similar rate of Griffey's current production while 37 or older ...
    • Babe Ruth played in 133 games in 1932 and hit .341/.489/.661 at the age of 37, and in 1933 he followed that up by playing in 137 games and hitting .301/.442/.582 at the age of 38
    • Ted Williams played in 136 games in 1956 and hit .345/.479/.605 at the age of 37, and in 1958 he played in 129 games and hit .328/.458/.584 at the age of 39.
    • Tris Speaker played in 117 games in 1925 and hit .389/.479/.78 at the age of 37.
    • Willie Mays played in 148 games in 1968 and hit .289/.372/.488 at the age of 37 in a pitching dominant era, and in 1971 he played in 136 games and hit .271/.425/.482

    Other all-time great hitters and other Hall of Famers are sprinkled among the list too: Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tony Gwynn, Carl Yastrzemeski, Zack Wheat, and future Hall inductee Rickey Henderson. But those hitters were some of the greatest the game has ever seen, just like Ken Griffey, Jr., and the list of dominant offensive seasons by a hitter 37-years-old or older is extremely short. We're talking a potentially top 10 offensive season for an outfielder at 37 years of age or older if Griffey is able to remain healthy and continue hitting. This type of production from a hitter at these ages - any hitter - is just flat out rare, but it's a path that Griffey has a chance to travel.

    Some of what Griffey's accomplished this season is more than impressive. His eye and walk rate early in 2007 is as good as it's ever been his entire career - he's posted an on-base percentage over .400 only twice, way back in 1993 and 1994. His power has seemingly returned after being asleep for the first few weeks of the season. And he's hitting the ball hard throughout all parts of the field. As an offensive foce, the Ken Griffey, Jr. I've seen over the past 1-2 weeks is the most dangerous Ken Griffey, Jr. I've seen in the last several years.

    Can Griffey keep it up? Well, that's part of the fun of the baseball season. Obviously the 2007 season is young, and it's far from a sure bet that Griffey will be able to remain on the field enough to produce this type of all-time caliber season for a hitter his age, much less continue to hit at this pace even if he does remain on the field.

    But his start so far has been amazing, and it's put him on an all-time great level offensively for an outfielder at his age. As a Reds fan, the hope is that Griffey is able to stay healthy and on the field through the entire summer and fall months so all Reds fans can enjoy the possibility of an historic individual season from an all-time great player.
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Nice post.

    I think Griffey's improvement goes back to an adjustment he made around the beginning of August last year when he started seeing more pitches. He's got the talent to put a nice cap on his career, especially if he works on staying in shape in the offseason.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    You know.... I was at a party about 3 weeks ago and had a long heated debate with a college pitcher about Griffey. He kept saying that Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn were so much better than Griffey and that Griffey was washed up. I kept trying to explain to him that making judgements on 3 weeks of playing time is a poor choice and to think about what I said a month from that time. He thought I was nuts.

    I really wish I knew who he was just so I could drop a 'how you likin' junior now?'.

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    Brett William Moore Will M's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclone792 View Post
    It's May 9th.

    It's early.

    It's only been 108 plate appearances thus far.

    It's been a bit hidden away from Reds fans slightly due to the amazing story of Josh Hamilton and the frustration of the Reds bullpen.

    And, perhaps most of all, the chances of an injury shattering this amazing ride are so high that Reds fans are left with few other options than to wince and hope against hope that this resurging offensive force is healthy enough to start tonight, and then start again tomorrow night, and then start again the following night, etc.

    But man, put those disclaimers aside for a minute and check out this batting line: .326/.444/.562.

    That's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old outfielder who had merely a handful of spring training games and plate appearances. It's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old outfielder who previously had muscles torn off and reattached with screws, among various other serious injuries over the past few years. It's a 1.006 OPS from a 37-year-old hitter who was showing signs of decline at the plate the previous season with a disturbing drop in walks and on-base percentage.

    But so far in 2007, especially during the last 1-2 weeks, all Ken Griffey, Jr. done is hit, hit, and hit some more. Griffey turned 37 in November of 2006, and guys his age just aren't supposed to hit like he's hitting. Then again, he was accomplishing feats on the baseball field 15 years ago that guys weren't supposed to accomplish either. Maybe this is more of the same, more of the good same from a decade ago that Reds fans have hoped to see ever since he was acquired in 2000.

    How amazing is Griffey's 2007 season so far? According to his Fan Graphs Page, Griffey has a RC/27 (runs created per 27 outs) of 10.09, which essentially means that an entire lineup of Griffeys would score an average of 10.09 runs per 27 outs. The National League's average RC/27 so far this season is around 4.55, or close to that range.

    Now compare Griffey's RC/27 to the league average, and his rate of creating runs this season is around 222. For reference purposes, 100 is average. Above 100 is above average, and below 100 is below average. How absurd is a RC/27 rate of 222? Let's get an idea by taking a look at the top 25 single season RC/27 rates for outfielders who were 37-years-old or older since the year 1900 (minimum 500 plate appearances) ...
    Code:
    SEASON
    MODERN (1900-)
    OF
    AGE >= 37
    RUNS CREATED displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    RCAA displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    RCAP displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    AGE displayed only--not a sorting criteria
    
    RUNS CREATED/GAME             YEAR     RATE   PLAYER   LEAGUE     RC      RCAA     RCAP      AGE    
    1    Barry Bonds              2002      423    21.23     5.02      206      161      150       37   
    2    Barry Bonds              2004      420    22.08     5.26      202      152      147       39   
    3    Ted Williams             1957      357    16.44     4.60      165      113       94       38   
    4    Barry Bonds              2003      325    16.75     5.15      165      115      112       38   
    5    Babe Ruth                1932      246    13.73     5.57      160      101       93       37   
    6    Ted Williams             1956      232    11.68     5.04      119       66       50       37   
    7    Ted Williams             1958      221    10.02     4.53      111       58       42       39   
    8    Tris Speaker             1925      205    11.65     5.68      125       59       40       37   
    9    Bob Johnson              1944      197     8.79     4.45      123       61       54       37   
    10   Willie Mays              1971      191     8.18     4.27       97       47       43       40   
    11   Babe Ruth                1933      190    10.05     5.28      126       66       60       38   
    12   Tony Gwynn               1997      173     8.87     5.12      132       61       55       37   
    13   Willie Mays              1968      171     6.41     3.74       90       40       31       37   
    14   Stan Musial              1962      168     8.15     4.84       93       34       26       41   
    15   Willie Mays              1970      157     7.67     4.89      100       38       33       39   
    16   Carl Yastrzemski         1977      156     7.16     4.59      110       26       19       37   
    17   Zack Wheat               1925      156     8.75     5.62      136       53       45       37   
    18   Dwight Evans             1989      154     6.63     4.30       98       31       28       37   
    19   Hank Sauer               1954      151     7.72     5.12      111       35       29       37   
    20   Ty Cobb                  1927      150     8.11     5.39      107       40       29       40   
    21   Rickey Henderson         1999      145     8.05     5.57       96       33       24       40   
    22   Gene Woodling            1960      141     6.60     4.70       79       23        8       37   
    23   Moises Alou              2004      140     7.37     5.26      121       30       21       37   
    24   Tris Speaker             1926      136     7.14     5.27      111       32       17       38   
    25   Steve Finley             2002      135     6.79     5.02       95       19       16       37
    The RATE column in the above chart is each player's RC/27 rate compared to their league average. Ken Griffey, Jr. is nearly a month and a half into a potentially historic season for an outfielder his age if he's able to remain healthy and continue hitting at his current pace. Heck, even if Griffey's production slips a bit from his current 2007 standards, he'll still be producing an historic season for an outfielder of his age.

    Barry Bonds has produced some inhuman seasons at an old age, and Ted Williams in 1957 was in another stratosphere of amazing. But consider some of the names and seasons listed above by some of those all-time great players who created runs at a similar rate of Griffey's current production while 37 or older ...
    • Babe Ruth played in 133 games in 1932 and hit .341/.489/.661 at the age of 37, and in 1933 he followed that up by playing in 137 games and hitting .301/.442/.582 at the age of 38
    • Ted Williams played in 136 games in 1956 and hit .345/.479/.605 at the age of 37, and in 1958 he played in 129 games and hit .328/.458/.584 at the age of 39.
    • Tris Speaker played in 117 games in 1925 and hit .389/.479/.78 at the age of 37.
    • Willie Mays played in 148 games in 1968 and hit .289/.372/.488 at the age of 37 in a pitching dominant era, and in 1971 he played in 136 games and hit .271/.425/.482

    Other all-time great hitters and other Hall of Famers are sprinkled among the list too: Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Tony Gwynn, Carl Yastrzemeski, Zack Wheat, and future Hall inductee Rickey Henderson. But those hitters were some of the greatest the game has ever seen, just like Ken Griffey, Jr., and the list of dominant offensive seasons by a hitter 37-years-old or older is extremely short. We're talking a potentially top 10 offensive season for an outfielder at 37 years of age or older if Griffey is able to remain healthy and continue hitting. This type of production from a hitter at these ages - any hitter - is just flat out rare, but it's a path that Griffey has a chance to travel.

    Some of what Griffey's accomplished this season is more than impressive. His eye and walk rate early in 2007 is as good as it's ever been his entire career - he's posted an on-base percentage over .400 only twice, way back in 1993 and 1994. His power has seemingly returned after being asleep for the first few weeks of the season. And he's hitting the ball hard throughout all parts of the field. As an offensive foce, the Ken Griffey, Jr. I've seen over the past 1-2 weeks is the most dangerous Ken Griffey, Jr. I've seen in the last several years.

    Can Griffey keep it up? Well, that's part of the fun of the baseball season. Obviously the 2007 season is young, and it's far from a sure bet that Griffey will be able to remain on the field enough to produce this type of all-time caliber season for a hitter his age, much less continue to hit at this pace even if he does remain on the field.

    But his start so far has been amazing, and it's put him on an all-time great level offensively for an outfielder at his age. As a Reds fan, the hope is that Griffey is able to stay healthy and on the field through the entire summer and fall months so all Reds fans can enjoy the possibility of an historic individual season from an all-time great player.
    Griffey's offense has been a pleasant suprise. Based on 2006's numbers I thought he was strictly a platooner vs RHP. He is proving me wrong.

    Now, his defense is IMO substandard in RF. He just can't get to balls that a major league right fielder should be able to get to.
    .

  6. #5
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    I thought that Chris Welsh made an interesting point about Griffey last night. He thought that Griffey was moving around better and had lost weight. From the untrained eye, Griffey's diverticulitis, has had the unintended side benefit of dropping a few pounds, at least according to Welsh. He does look a step quicker, and seems to have picked up some bat speed. Maybe there is something to it.
    The Sox traded Bullfrog the only player they've got for Shottenhoffen. Four-eyes Shottenhoffen a utility infielder. They've got a whole team of utility infielders.

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    You know his story Redsland's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Killer, killer post, Cyc.

    It helped brighten a fairly dark day.
    Makes all the routine posts.

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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    For as rough as it has been watching Griffey play RF so far this year it has been a huge pleasure to see him hit the snot out of the ball in the manner that he has.
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    I'm not that persuaded that Griffey has discovered the fountain of youth... His .326/.444/.562 has mostly been powered by 37 PA against the Astros and Rockies where he's done this: .467/.700/.900.

    So what's more telling, his first 70 PA's where he's batted .250 and slugged under .400 or his last hyperbolic 37 against some bad staffs (over basically a week)? My guess is the average of the five available projections systems is a fair estimate: .267/.338/.497 (i.e. we should expect somewhere in the middle of the two extremes we've seen from him so far this season). How many PA's he ends up giving the Reds is a huge question as his body begins to break down from wear and tear in the second half. Also, while a .267/.338/.497 line looks pretty acceptable on the surface, he's a minus defender even in right so his overall value is going to take a fairly significant hit.

    Guess I'm just very skeptical we're seeing a historic season from our hero in right....
    Last edited by jojo; 05-09-2007 at 02:18 PM.
    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    I was thrilled to see an update on Griff this winter, before the incident of course.
    He was going to be working only on cardio, completely laying off the weights.
    It has apparently paid off.
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Quote Originally Posted by jojo View Post
    I'm not that persuaded that Griffey has discovered the fountain of youth... His .326/.444/.562 has mostly been powered by 37 PA against the Astros and Rockies where he's done this: .467/.700/.900.
    sure.... but is it because he faced those pitching staffs or because he is a lot closer to healthy than he was in the first few weeks of the season?

    So what's more telling, his first 70 PA's where he's batted .250 and slugged under .400 or his last hyperbolic 37 against some bad staffs? My guess is the average of the five available projections systems is a fair estimate: .267/.338/.497 (i.e. we should expect somewhere in the middle of the two extremes we've seen form his so far this season). How many PA's he ends up giving the Reds is a huge question as his body begins to break down from wear and tear in the second half. Also, while a .267/.338/.497 line looks pretty acceptable on the surface, he's a minus defender even in right so his overall value is going to take a fairly significant hit.
    Again though, his first few weeks he was hitting the ball well, he just wasn't getting the hits to fall in. Since then, he has added a little more power, is just as patient at the plate and still is not striking out much. I also don't think he will see his OBP drop to anywhere near the .340 mark.
    Guess I'm just very skeptical we're seeing a historic season from our hero in right....
    I agree with you there that you are very skeptical. Have faith

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Quote Originally Posted by pedro View Post
    For as rough as it has been watching Griffey play RF so far this year it has been a huge pleasure to see him hit the snot out of the ball in the manner that he has.
    Its even more impressive in person. I've been at both games the last two nights and his bat is RIGHT on the baseball when he has been swinging. He hit a screamer out last night and just barely missed a couple others that were fouled almost directly back.

    His swing depends on his body movement and weight transfer -- when Griffey is going well, he is centering the baseball at the point where his hips begin to transfer weight forward and making contact that allows him to dirve the bat through the zone. He is doing that right now as well as i've seen him do it since he has been a Red.
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    sure.... but is it because he faced those pitching staffs or because he is a lot closer to healthy than he was in the first few weeks of the season?
    It's because he had a good week.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Again though, his first few weeks he was hitting the ball well, he just wasn't getting the hits to fall in. Since then, he has added a little more power, is just as patient at the plate and still is not striking out much. I also don't think he will see his OBP drop to anywhere near the .340 mark.
    Really the only thing he did well in april was walk and dust the warming track. I'm not saying his april didn't have mitigating circumstances. I suggesting his last week, while a blast, isn't representative.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I agree with you there that you are very skeptical. Have faith
    I don't think .267/.338/.497 really qualifies as skeptical in and of itself....of course everything is relative and compared to .467/.700/.900, I guess it's skeptical...

    Anyway, i'd admire your faith.

    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner

  14. #13
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Griffey has had a very good week, but his BABIP isn't way out of the normal range that it couldn't be sustained. Sure his power in April was iffy.... but add 5 feet to about 5 baseballs and he had 5 HRs instead of 4 doubles and an out. He is healthier than he was in April, now he is adding a little extra power and he is hitting line drives everywhere. Even when he is making outs he is crushing the ball. I dont expect him to have a 1.468 OPS he has had so far in May.... but I dont think its out of the realm of possibilities for him to go .300/.390/.500, I actually think its something very possible.

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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    When looking at Griffey, you have to remove yourself from the last 20 years....away from the guys that have used steroids to prevent the natural aging process from occuring in their bodies.

    For over a century, hitters would peak at the age of 27, and like a natural Bell Curve, would descend on a consistent basis. But, there was always one year where, usually about 4 or 5 years after their descent began, where their numbers would spike back to those years when they were 29 years of age.

    The greatest players of All-Time were no exception, so I think we can expect Junior to continue this type of hitting throughout the year, but a .300-.305 average is more likely what he'll end up with this year.
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    Re: The 37+ Year Old Outfielder

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    Griffey has had a very good week, but his BABIP isn't way out of the normal range that it couldn't be sustained. Sure his power in April was iffy.... but add 5 feet to about 5 baseballs and he had 5 HRs instead of 4 doubles and an out. He is healthier than he was in April, now he is adding a little extra power and he is hitting line drives everywhere. Even when he is making outs he is crushing the ball. I dont expect him to have a 1.468 OPS he has had so far in May.... but I dont think its out of the realm of possibilities for him to go .300/.390/.500, I actually think its something very possible.
    Well for his hot week his BABIP was .476. His career average is .296 (pretty normal). His '07 BABIP of .324 would be an outlier in his career and assuming he faces the shift all year, seems unlikely to not even out.

    Besides, you're surely not suggesting the only way Jr can go .300/.390/.500 is to be hit lucky are you?

    Seriously, I don't have a crystal ball. I hope you're right.

    "This isnít stats vs scouts - this is stats and scouts working together, building an organization that blends the best of both worlds. This is the blueprint for how a baseball organization should be run. And, whether the baseball men of the 20th century like it or not, this is where baseball is going."---Dave Cameron, U.S.S. Mariner


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Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

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